Steve Mandell

  • Monday, February 24, 2014

Photo by Judy Watts

For Pinewood Prep Headmaster Steve Mandell, his mission lies in preparing this next generation of students for tomorrow’s world.

“There was not a moment in its history that Pinewood didn’t want to be a great school,” Mandell said. “Today Pinewood, tomorrow the world. For years we’ve been able to bring the world here to Pinewood and offer Pinewood to the world.

Being able to bottle some of the culture that is Pinewood. There is something very special about this community and the people here.”

Founded in 1952, Pinewood is Summerville’s oldest independent school.

Mandell is in his second year heading the school of more than 800 students from age three through the 12th grade and believes this is a pivotal time in the school’s history.

Pinewood Prep’s Board Chairman, Lisa Grossman, offered her perspective.

“Steve Mandell is a brilliant educator, administrator, mentor, coach and friend not only to the Pinewood Family, but to the Summerville community as well. He’s only been in town for 18 months, but his warmth, exuberance for education, and passion for preparing students not just for college, but to become global leaders is rapidly propelling Pinewood, and Summerville into the national spotlight. Steve is a true visionary. He will make a sizable impact on the community. He is definitely a Man to Watch.”

Mandell said the challenges meeting the next generation are unique.

“Some of Pinewood’s biggest successes lie in the fact that students are challenged academically, but also have the opportunity to be competitive athletes,” he said. “Smart, energized kids that love school, that’s pretty much what it takes to be successful. That, and great teachers. And we have great teachers.”

Mandell uses strong moral values in his every-day decision-making, and has in a very short period of time created opportunities for perpetual learning, creativity, innovation, and personal growth in a safe and supportive environment. His open-door policy, ‘Why Not?” approach and avid listening skills have spurred innovation and leadership among students, parents and faculty.

“It’s not going to be easy for this next generation to make their lives their very best,” Mandell said. “I have a feeling this next generation is a caring and supportive generation. This generation of young people... there are very special kids out there. This is a special generation.

Mandell said a school is only as good as its teachers, “and we are blessed with a great faculty. These teachers have given a lot to the school. I want to see that this legacy of excellence continues. A strong campus and facilities, that makes Pinewood Prep a great learning environment.”

Mandell has fostered a school-wide commitment to community service, taking the lead in raising awareness and funds for initiatives such as Chase After A Cure (where he made good on his challenge to shave his head if students met their fundraising goal), and putting his wit to good use while serving as master of ceremonies for local charitable events such as the ARK’s “Dancing with the Stars” and the Dorchester Children’s Center’s “Scrumptious Summerville Gala.”

“Being able to bottle some of the culture that is Pinewood, there is something very special about this community and the people here, and our goal moving forward is continuing to partner with the community.

“We’re Summerville’s only true independent school and we need to find a way for public and private entities to come together and work together and thrive.

“It’s going to be really exciting and will make Pinewood a leader for years to come.”

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